Sam Mercer to Head ILM

Producer Sam Mercer will display his problem solving chops as the new head of Industrial Light & Magic, reporting in to Lucasfilm GM Lynwen Brennan.

Mercer (currently producing Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of Roald Dahl’s The BFG for Disney) will oversee and coordinate the company’s operations across all four of ILM’s global studios: San Francisco, Singapore, Vancouver, and London. He has produced seven films with M. Night Shyamalan, Mission to Mars, Jarhead, and Snow White and the Huntsman.

“ILM is unparalleled in the industry in terms of their artistry and legacy of innovation,”explained Mercer, “Having worked with them on eight films, I know firsthand the incredible talent at the company and from a filmmaker’s point of view they are one of the few companies that consistently delivers not only with regard to achieving the creative vision but from a scheduling and budgetary perspective as well.”

Having previously been with The Walt Disney Studios as a production executive Mercer supervised such films as Good Morning, Vietnam, Three Fugitives, and Dead Poets Society. Within a few years, Mercer was promoted to vice president of motion picture production for Hollywood Pictures and in addition to Arachnophobia, he was responsible for such releases as Quiz Show, The Joy Luck Club, Born Yesterday, Swing Kids and The Hand That Rocks the Cradle. Mercer left Hollywood Pictures to pursue independent producing on Frank Marshall’s second film Congo.

“I am thrilled that Sam will be leading ILM into our fifth decade,” said Brennan. “His vast experience as a producer together with his long history with visual effects including eight films with ILM provides a valuable perspective within the VFX industry. As Visual Effects becomes increasingly integrated into filmmaking from pre-production through to post, Sam’s filmmaker point of view enables us to provide a unique level of creative collaboration and partnership with directors, producers and studios to bring their visions to the screen.”

Kathleen Kennedy, Lucasfilm president, noted, “I have had the pleasure of knowing and working with Sam for many years and I have come to rely on his skill as a creative problem solver. Sam has that rare ability to head off potential issues before they become real problems, and he manages to do it while maintaining an even keel and level of professionalism that has earned him the respect and admiration of every crew he works with.”

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in Below the Line, Crafts, Movies, Tech, VFX, Virtual Production

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